Texas medical marijuana expansion measure clears state House

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A bipartisan-supported, Republican-sponsored proposal to expand access to low-THC medical marijuana oil in Texas and increase its potency passed the state House, but the measure still has a long way to go before it becomes law.

Republican Rep. Stephanie Klick’s House Bill 1805, which passed the Texas House on a 127-19 vote on Tuesday, would allow doctors to “prescribe” cannabis to people with chronic pain as an opioid alternative as well as to anyone with a “debilitating condition” as designated by the state health department.

Texas still has some of the most punitive marijuana laws in the country, but people with certain illnesses have been allowed access to very-low THC cannabis oil since 2015 under the state’s Compassionate Use Program.

Qualifying conditions currently include autism, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and PTSD.

The cannabis oil’s THC potency, however, is limited to 1% of weight.

Critics say that forces patients whose conditions require a stronger dose to purchase excessive amounts of low-dose products, which can be prohibitively expensive.

The proposal would also allow products containing no more than 10 milligrams of THC per “dosage unit” to be sold.

Critics say that’s a psychoactive amount.

Klick’s bill will head to the Senate, where an identical companion bill, SB 1747, remains stuck in committee without a hearing, according to a legislative database.